P-Card Acceptance Update (Part 2)

Navigator Editions: Commercial Payments: Special Edition Navigator, February 2014
By: Frank Martien

In the November / December 2013 Navigator, we explored p-card acceptance rates for several global geographic regions and, specific to the U.S., by organization spend vertical based on a 2013 First Annapolis Consulting / NAPCP (www.napcp.org) purchasing card acceptance survey (n=103). In this article, we explore key reasons for supplier card acceptance as well as supplier resistance.

Suppliers have many reasons to take cards. In the 2013 survey, 62% of respondents reported that their suppliers took their P-Card / One Card to achieve quick payment (i.e., improve working capital); while, for 48% of respondents, guaranteed payment was the second most cited benefit. One can see in Figure 1 that process ease for the supplier was cited by less than 40% – in part because many suppliers still handle card acceptance in a somewhat manual, “exception process” manner.

Figure 1: Reasons Suppliers Take Cards, According to End-Users


Note: results between 2009 (P-Card/One Card) and 2013 (P-Card/One Card) were relatively comparable.
Q: What reasons do suppliers give for accepting your P-Cards/One Cards? Indicate the frequency for which suppliers cite each of the following.
Q: What reasons do suppliers give for accepting your ePayables payments? Indicate the frequency for which suppliers cite each of the following.
Source: NAPCP supplier acceptance survey of 2013 (n=103).

Specific to ePayables (i.e., non-plastic virtual accounts riding p-card rails), the top three reasons cited were quick payment, guaranteed payment, and to be “preferred.” Counter intuitively, process ease ranked fourth. While ePayables solutions are often specifically designed to automate AP and AR payments, the AR component, like P-Cards / One Cards, is regrettably often handled as an exception process by the supplier. A key opportunity for the industry is to better educate suppliers on how ePayables can improve so-called auto cash. Potential also exists as an industry to harmonize ePayables and electronic invoicing solutions in areas such as interfaces and file formats to ease supplier adoption.

This survey also explored reasons suppliers resist or won’t take cards for payment. “Fees too high,” at 67%, was by far the most common impediment depicted in Figure 2 with only a slight decrease from 71% in 2009 despite substantial provider / industry progress made regarding lower large ticket interchange rates during the past four years. “Too hard to set up” was still the second most frequently observed reason by one-fourth of respondents followed by “don’t understand the benefits.”

Figure 2: Reasons Suppliers Resist / Won’t Take Cards


Q: What reasons do suppliers give for resisting or not accepting your P-Cards/One Cards?
Source: NAPCP supplier acceptance surveys of 2013 (n=103) and 2009 (n=146).

The 2009 and 2013 surveys also measured the transaction size at which supplier resistance / refusal is most commonly encountered. Back in 2009, the vast majority of respondents stated they did not encounter supplier resistance / refusal based on transaction size, likely due to the fact that nearly half prohibited use of a P-Card / One Card for transactions larger than $2,500. In 2013, 83% of respondents allowed P-Card / One Card usage for transactions larger than $2,500, which likely resulted in the higher frequency of supplier resistance / refusal responses for larger ticket amounts shown below. While 58% of respondents are still NOT encountering supplier resistance / refusal based on transaction size, for those that do encounter this, this threshold often starts at $10,000 or $15,000.

Figure 3: Transaction Size at Which Suppliers Most Commonly Resist / Refuse Cards


Q: Which of the following dollar ranges best reflects the point at which your card accepting suppliers most commonly resist or refuse to accept a card payment (due to cost or other factor)?
Q: Which of the following dollar ranges best reflects the highest transaction amount your org commonly allows on a P-Card/One Card? “Commonly allowed” could be demonstrated through a cardholder’s usual single transaction limit or your org’s willingness to grant a temporary limit increase.
Source: NAPCP supplier acceptance surveys of 2013 (n=103) and 2009 (n=146).

Results from this survey suggest substantial opportunities still exist to:

  • Educate suppliers on actual (versus perceived or legacy) transaction fees, including large-ticket interchange rates offered by card networks;
  • Assist or provide support as practical for set up; and,
  • Explain or re-explain the benefits of accepting cards.

For more information, please contact Frank Martien, Partner, specializing in Commercial Payments, frank.martien@firstannapolis.com.

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